Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The End Is Shit

I beat Far Cry 2 a few days ago.  That game is LONG.  Each half of the game is equal to a full length game in and of itself.  Without giving anything away, I'll say when you GET to the end there's a choice of two things you can do.  I saved and did both.  I was underwhelmed by the results.  

For those of you wondering why you should care about a months old FPS that nobody else seemed to care about:

1> Fuck you, you should, it's amazing

2> This isn't a game review, I'm getting to the point in a bit.

At this point I have to say SPOILERS AHEAD!  this is a post about game endings, so if you haven't played the game mentioned, don't read any more.

Far Cry 2:
So you're this badass merc sent to kill someone who repeatedly saves your ass.  I can't see I didn't see it coming that you end up helping him.  What COULD have been set up better is how he'd been secretly herding the civilian population somewhere secret for a mass exodus.  And I THINK the ending implies he ran the underground.  Who knows.  All I DO know is my options were "die in an explosion" or "die from a self inflicted gunshot wound after being a hero".  WTF? 
I'm not even kidding, both of those options were the ending, some sort of double suicide/save the orphans pact.  To make it worse: they both lead to the same ending.  You never see the gun suicide.   You never see YOU or the Jackal. 

Grand Theft Auto IV:
I beat this awhile back, but I love bringing this up as recent kind of shitty endings.  No game seems to have taken the steam out of a series like this one.  I mean, they tease you at the start with this amazing engine with an immersive city, then make you drive a cab for approximately 10 hours, so I'm not very surprised.  That said, since when was GTA about someone's life ending up being shit because he lost a loved one, rather than about building a bad-ass empire of drugs, prostitution, and real estate?  

GTA IV: The Lost and Damned:
I've said to many people that this game fixed everything that GTA IV seems to have broken.  Gone is the emo-ness of a life lost by war and devestation... at first.  GTAIVTLAD (TLAD from here on in) starts strong making you second in command of a biker gang.  Some of the side missions of gang warfare really make me wonder why the entire game doesn't use a similar mechanic for missions.  I know the friendly AI isn't as good as you, and you can't give orders, but it was immersive and badass to have an entire gang be at your aid.  Much like the teaser "boss" in GTA IV (Darko Brevitch I think), the final boss in TLAD doesn't do much as you walk up and shoot him in the face.  Considering the fight involved in GETTING to him, it didn't bother me as much as it might seem.  But there you go.  You are the boss.  All dissent is quelled.  You are the boss of bosses, bikerwise.  Now would be a good time to go get your ex and put her into rehab, maybe take over the other biker gangs.  Set things right.  Own the night, et al.  Instead, it seems the protagonist seems to think this incredibly bonding experience you just had breaking into a jail and fighting the LCPD is the perfect preface for burning down the clubhouse and dispersing the biker crew who was more united than ever.  Once again, I miss Tommy Vercetti who at least had the good taste to get rich and retire in a mansion.

By the way, from this point on, don't expect any sort of synchronicity in my musings.  I don't know why I write this warning, it's not like anyone actually READS this blog...

Assassin's Creed:
It's almost not fair to put AC on this list, because it doesn't reallty have an ending.  It has a cliffhanger involving the bartender walking out a door.  Even the ending of Altair's story is just, like "oh there was a thing, and now we know what it is".  Had I been paying attention to the bartender's story I might have understood what was being explained, but in the end, I stopped caring after the third time I had the same woman thank me for saving her in yet another city.

The game criticized for being TOO sandboxy has an ending that's too tacked on.   Announcer guy gets all evil and mentions you're part of the New World Order.  Oh noes!

Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
This game made me quit the series.  The last game ended with some speech about defeating genetics with willpower or some crazy shit.  this time, you make me play over half the game in a series about resident badass David, AKA SOLID SNAKE as a character named Rayden.  Who is essentially for gameplay purposes the same, except a giant pussy for storyline purposes.  The ending in this game seems to have made 2 points.
1> Solid Snake could be anyone.  Yeah, no shit.  You INVENTED him specificly to be the anyone.  Congratulations on the self-reference, Hideo. 
2> Whoever the Sons of Liberty were supposed to be in this game they were... oh wait, they were the original sons of liberty.  Who are dead.  LONG dead.  So it remains a mystery.  Except it may also be a computer program.  I stopped caring long before this became clear enough to truly be unclear to me...


Seriously, what is the deal with game endings?  I don't want Shakespeare, or master story writing, I just want to feel like I am being rewarded for beating your stupid game.   Gritty and bleak endings only work in film, because in film you are forced to examine your motivations in identifying with certain protagonists.  I'm FORCED to indentify with the protagonist in a game, because I am playing as him.  I don't want to then be asked if I REALLY want to identify with said protagonist, because the answer is probably "no", anyway, because most game protagonists are annoyingly generic.  Weak endings also suck, because I want to at least acknowledge that I accomplished something.  Even if it's just a shot of my character sitting on a pile of gold bars and money having copious amounts of sex with strippers.  Mario's princess was in another castle until he found her.  Having that be the ending isn't ironic, it's just plain annoying.


huginn said...

Far Cry 2 sucked as well as the multi-player to said game.

Now, COD: MW2, that's an awesome game, where the multi-player online experience does not lack.

Can't wait for Battlefield 2 though, I understand it was a lot better than the COD franchise... heard that before, but we'll see.

OthelloNYC said...

COD never let me stalk my prey or set them on fire while they were having a conversation. 'Nuff said.